War in Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

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Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and Catch-22 by Joseph Heller both have a striking resemblance in the themes of anti-war and of free will. Both don’t come into full force right in the beginning but eventually become more evident. Both novels focus on one character throughout the entire novel, and each protagonist is affected by all the events around them. It changes their perspective and how they view life as a whole. Both Billy in Slaughterhouse Five and Yossarian in Catch -22, dislike war and are known as anti-war heroes. They also believe in the idea that they have free will and that their actions can be controlled. What makes these two novels so different from other war novels is that both protagonists don’t die for their…show more content…
The idea of war and that only good and peace can come from it, is painted by Vonnegut and Heller and highlighted by their utilization of irony. Their careful stabs of irony in their novels help to prove one of their numerous shared themes and help the anti-war theme specifically. The institutions and organizations created by war are bizarre and appear to be created in order to make profit. Many comparisons can be made between M & M Enterprises in Catch-22, and the group of English men in the Nazi war camp in Slaughterhouse-five. Both protagonists have ironic experiences with the group that exists within their particular universe. In Yossarian's frantic attempt to help the dying Snowden, he opens the first-aid kit and finds that "The twelve syrettes of morphine had been stolen from their case and replaced by a cleanly lettered note that said: "What's good for M & M Enterprises is good for the country" (Heller 446). The irony in this is blatantly obvious, Snowden is not benefiting from M & M's repossession of the morphine; in fact, he will suffer to a much greater degree because of it. Obviously, the M & M Enterprise is not meant to be thought as a true wartime corporation. Perhaps, Heller intended M & M Enterprises to symbolize the ridiculous quality of wartime enterprises for profit. His statement is clear. The statement that Heller is trying to explain to us is that any company that

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